This Is Not The Issue In Front Of Us!

Yesterday evening I was in the audience in the quaint little town of Yardley, Pennsylvania, to witness a zoning-commission hearing. This meeting was called because my wife was trying to open her new antique-store in a 120-year old building that originally was zoned for retail. But, over the last decades, mostly commercial businesses got into town and the building was re-zoned again to commercial. And yesterday evening, the hearing was there to check if the building could be re-zoned back again to support a retail store.

This was not an easy task. Even though everyone we had met, she had talked to, all the town officials, already supported her business. Especially by bringing retail, and fitting retail in an old-style main-streat-USA setting, to the town. But there were the two opposing parties; the previous tenant of the location, that was still in a feud with the owners about her breached contract (by her) and the aftermath of the financial consequences. And the neighbor, an old woman, who claimed the parking spaces in front of the building on the state highway.

It was pretty official yesterday evening, while the thunderstorm clouds were gathering over the town’s main street. Even a court official, swearing the oath and just be silent and wait until you may respond to claims being made.

Although my experiences with township officials in the past, I must hand it to them, the council was very solid and could say nothing bad. Not only because they ruled in favor of my wife’ s business at Yarldey Antiques , but the way how it was handled.

The two opposing parties had both their own agenda, but both also could stir up a lot of trouble. Especially the late tenant had a list of complaints and ‘worries’ about the condition of the property that it might become a safety hazard for the community. We were already aware of this, and in the last year all those issues had been taken care of, but some elements were still being fixed or finished – and might have given the council good reason to at least postpone the hearing.

But what I liked is the strict ruling, that this was a meeting about  finding out who was in favor of rezoning the property. Nothing else. And this woman, who could not stand being dismissed like this, was told over and over, in response to any of her ‘attacks’ that ‘This is not the issue in front of us!’.

The same thing about the neighbor claiming that she was worried that my wife’s business would generate so much traffic that people would park in front of her property on her parking spots. Ehm… it is an Antique Business in a small town. I don’t know if she is aware of the times, but although my wife makes a nice profit, it is not that antique-businesses are usually thriving these times. Worse, while she mentioned that she had to battle the last five years to keep people from parking on her property, she was told very clearly that the parking spaces are on a state highway, and she could not claim any of those spaces to belong to her property, followed immediately again with the repeated sentence; ‘This is not the issue in front of us!’

In all my years building web sites and media productions, I witnessed yesterday evening the perfect rule for web publications: ‘Don’t Deviate!’ Decide what you are building a web site for, what the core of your message is in one or two sentences, and stick with it. Don’t mention anything that might seem that it is related, but actually is only distracting from your original message.

And that is difficult, because even my wife and I were yesterday sometimes holding our breath when certain issues were mentioned. Because we also thought that certain issues could affect the zoning hearing. But even we did not see that they actually could not.

And it is the same with websites. If you tell too much, people get to be distracted, and you will be missing your point. Ehm – much like this long posting 😉 If you made it all the way down here in today’s posting, I might have gotten the message across, but I might just as well been telling too much irrelevant stuff that you will never read this.

– HEY! I never said that I actually practice what I preach! –

Anyway. If setting up a site is done with such precision in the message, marketing will be so much easier, the time spent on building a site would be so much less, and it is easier to control and convince a client to stay on track. It saves money, time and frustration – and the need to change the site over again once the message is modified.

So, stick with your message, your goal. And show as little as irrelevant stuff as possible. It might benefit you in many more than just one way.

And of course, I would like to invite you all over to support my wife’s new business at www.yardleyantiques.com , even if you are not from the region, country, or maybe even the continent.

And to my wife; Congratulations and success with the opening today!

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